House of Commons Hansard #15 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we now know that, from 2008 to 2011, the people who were using the Mercier Bridge were in real danger even before the bridge closed this summer. This is not only an economic issue but also one of public safety. It is irresponsible to play with the safety of motorists, truckers and public transit users.

Will the government do the right thing today so that people can travel safely?

Infrastructure
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I would like to clarify. A total of $135 million has been invested in the federal part of the Mercier Bridge. Work that had been planned for several years was completed this summer. The Government of Quebec is continuing to do its work. The comments today pertain to the provincial part of the Mercier Bridge. We will continue to ensure that federal bridges in the Montreal area are in good condition and meet the needs of the population.

Human Rights
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Scott Reid Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question relates to the serious and ongoing issue of anti-Semitism in the international community.

The Conservative government has been a global leader in combating anti-Semitism. It has, for example, been the first government anywhere in the world to announce that it would not participate in the commemoration of the Durban declaration.

My question to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism is the following: could he advise the House as to any other actions the government is taking to fight anti-Semitism?

Human Rights
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to thank that member, as well as the member for Mount Royal and Mr. Silva, the former member for Davenport, for their leadership in the parliamentary coalition for combating anti-Semitism and their excellent work, as well as for helping us to coordinate the global summit of parliamentarians here in January, which led to the Ottawa Protocol.

I am pleased to announce that this evening the Minister of Foreign Affairs and I will, on behalf of Canada, be the first government in the world to sign the Ottawa Protocol, indicating that Canada will continue to take a leadership role in combating all forms of anti-Semitism, including the scourge of the new anti-Semitism, which seeks to target and vilify the collective Jews of the state of Israel.

We stand in solidarity with the Jewish people and their democratic state.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, there is no business case for abolishing the Canadian Wheat Board. It is an ideological crusade, plain and simple.

Now a clear majority of Canadian grain producers have voted to keep the single desk monopoly of the Wheat Board.

I argue that the minister is both duty bound and honour bound to uphold the democratic will of prairie grain producers and to respect the very act that defines his ministry, which guarantees a vote of prairie producers before the government interferes with their ability to market their grain.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the plebiscite that the Wheat Board undertook left out a glaring hole in the middle: the right for farmers to voluntarily choose where they should market their grain.

That is a right that we have campaigned on. May 2 saw a result, giving us the authority to move forward on that.

We certainly intend to do that and to give those farmers the right and the opportunity to market their commodities at a time, place and price that they see fit, the same as their cousins in Ontario.

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, our American neighbours certainly see the benefit in the Canadian Wheat Board to Canadian farmers, because 13 times they have gone to the WTO and trade tribunals to complain that it is an unfair competitive advantage.

Now our Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board will do the Americans' dirty work for them.

My question is simple: what side is the minister on? Why is he standing up for the American agrifood giants and not standing up for Canadian grain producers, who benefit from the Canadian Wheat Board?

Agriculture
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, let me quote one of the farmers from western Canada:

It is no accident that North Dakota has five pasta plants whereas Manitoba and Saskatchewan have none. We will continue to export jobs from the prairies unless entrepreneurs are given the chance to buy grain freely from farmers.

That is the crux of this. We saw the Australian model opening up their wheat board some three years ago. When I met with the Minister of Trade from Australia at the Cairns Group last week, he said that the only mistake they made was not doing it sooner.

We look to that model. It has been very positive for the farmers in Australia. We know the farmers in western Canada will follow that same model and have a much better chance of prosperity.

Member for Mississauga—Erindale
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs serves a very important position which requires professionalism and discretion.

Recent events have become a distraction. There are unanswered questions about the parliamentary secretary's judgment and potential security concerns.

My question is, will the parliamentary secretary step aside from his responsibilities until the situation is investigated?

Member for Mississauga—Erindale
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member for Mississauga—Erindale has denied any inappropriate behaviour. We, of course, have found no information to suggest otherwise.

Member for Mississauga—Erindale
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, foreign affairs must be taken much more seriously. While the Minister of Foreign Affairs is looking after portraits of the Queen and his parliamentary secretary is looking after his personal life, who is looking after this country's foreign affairs? In the case of the parliamentary secretary, we have been told that an investigation took place behind closed doors and that the member did nothing wrong.

Could the opposition have a copy of the report that was produced?

Member for Mississauga—Erindale
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I am not entirely sure what this has to do with government business and I do not know what inquiries into people's personal lives have to do with the new tone of decorum.

The member for Mississauga—Erindale has been quite clear in his statement. He denied any inappropriate behaviour. There is no information to suggest otherwise.

Quebec
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, with his hand on his heart, the Minister of Industry promised that GST harmonization with Quebec would be resolved by September 15. It is now September 19 and the government has pulled the plug on the new unit in Bagotville, there is no more funding for the Saint-Rédempteur viaduct in Lévis, and we are still waiting for a new Champlain Bridge.

Why has the government written off Quebec? Is it because Quebeckers did not vote the right way, or is it the influence of the Prime Minister's new communications director? Why are they turning their backs on Quebeckers?

Quebec
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable
Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, I think that question should go back to the member for Bourassa. Nothing happened for 10 years. That government created a fiscal imbalance and always refused the possibility of tax harmonization. We gave Quebec a seat at UNESCO, we resolved the fiscal imbalance that they created, and we recognized the Quebec nation. And there is more to come, unlike what the previous government did.

G8 Summit
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Liberal

Joyce Murray Vancouver Quadra, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians do not understand how money allocated by Parliament to improve border infrastructure could have been used to build gazebos and washrooms that had nothing to do with the G8 summit. Even the Auditor General agrees that this matter is very troubling.

Since the Conservatives like to boast about accountability and claim to have nothing to hide, will they allow the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates to review how the funds were allocated?